We had some bad news on the cardboard canoe front. The boat had collapsed under its own weight. In my opinion, the real canoe was taken out of the cardboard one a little too soon. When the drywall tape was added to one side, the combination of the weight of the tape and glue, and the wetness of the glue conspired to doom the boat.

They kayak was still in great shape though. Unfortunately, I don’t think there would be time to let the kids make 12 runs in the kayak. Also, the chances of everyone doing well in the race are greatly improved by mixing strong paddlers with weaker ones. So we really needed the canoe.

On Thursday evening, I stopped by the church and picked up a trunk load of large sheets of cardboard. I moved my car out of the garage and spent three or four hours making an emergency backup canoe. Since there was no one for me to argue with, it went along pretty well. I spent three more hours on it Saturday night (I was in the garage until midnight), and this morning I added a little more cardboard to it, heaved it onto the top of my car and brought it to our Pathfinder meeting.

It was unanimous that we use the replacement version. It would have taken way more work to salvage the original one.

The goal for the day was to get both boats ready to paint. Our meetings usually run from 1:00-4:00pm, but I knew we’d need more than that to get the boats into paintable condition. So I invited the kids to stay after and work on the boats until they were ready. One of the staff members bought pizza, and almost everyone stayed until after 7:00pm.

During the meeting I had the kids glue non-corrugated cardboard over the seams of the corrugated cardboard. The idea there is to keep the water out of the seams. If it gets in, the boat will become a sponge and its time afloat will be severely limited. They did a mostly good job. After we paint it (and the paint dries), we will add some duct tape to the places they missed.

We also cut the floor out of the failed canoe and glued it into the floor of the replacement. There’s a photo in the slide show with a bunch of the kids (and Warran) standing in the canoe to press the new floor down. Once they got out, we loaded the boat down with paint cans. Otherwise, they’d have had to spend the night in that canoe.

Another thing you’ll see in the slide show are the kids cutting out “C” shaped forms. These will be glued together in a stack and placed in the kayak to form a seat. That will do two things. It will keep their butts out of the drink, and it will provide something substantial they can put all their weight on when they get in the boat. If they put their weight on the thin(ish) cardboard walls, they might collapse. But with these bulkheads, there is absolutely no danger of that happening.

We will paint them on Tuesday evening. Then on Friday we will haul them to Maine for the competition. When we paint them, we will name them. Whoever shows up for that part of the project will get the privilege of voting on a name. The one I like best so far is “KAYAK” backwards. Ha ha – since it’s a palindrome. To make it clear that it’s backwards, we will write the K’s backwards. Well, we’ll also write the A’s and the Y backwards, but it will be harder to tell we’ve done that. ;-)

I am well pleased with both of our boats. I’m thinking that we will have the two fastest boats. In 2009 our cardboard canoe tied for the fastest time, and our canoe entry this year looks at least as good as that one did if not better. I’m convinced that given a competent paddler (and we have several), the kayak will beat the canoe. The kayak it was molded on runs circles around the canoe, so if that translates (and I think it will) we should have a winner. I’ll be sure to let you know after the race (win or lose).

This has been an exhausting weekend. I’m surprised I’m still awake!

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